97% of Australians search for trade businesses online. If you don’t have a professional website, you are probably losing business
And having the right
type of website is just as important as having one. A well planned website is your online 24/7 silent salesman – showcasing your professionalism, services, work and contact details. These days most people will research you, your business and your competitors before they decide who to contact. You have about 6 seconds to capture your visitors' attention before they had back to Google and go to a competitor’s site. Unfortunately many trade websites are nothing more than expensive digital brochures that all look similar and say the same thing. And the owners become frustrated when they’re not generating a steady flow of leads.
The following 5 tips are a good starting point to planning and developing a website that will attract and keep attention.
1. Your Headlines Should Focus on Customer Needs – Not You
"Welcome to our website" is the absolute worst heading you can possibly have. The first headline people see should be one that grabs attention by addressing the need the customer may have and make them want to read on, look around your site and take action. Some of your headlines should contain the word YOU. Others should contain benefits. All of them need to be interesting enough so that the visitor wants to read the text below the headline. This goes for every heading on every page of your website.
2. You Need Interesting and Relevant Content
The content on your site is singularly the most important component of your website. It must be compelling, not a boring monologue about you and your company. It needs to address and answer the questions your prospects have.
To get found online, your site needs to be “optimised” for the searches that your prospects are performing. By identifying the keywords that are most likely to drive quality traffic to your website and writing your content with these keywords in mind, you'll end up ranking much higher in Google.
But the old practice of keyword stuffing is out. These days your content must be relevant to what people are searching for. So if someone searches on the term “How to Unblock a Drain” and you have a plumbing business, use this phrase in a heading or on a blogpost. If you are a roofer and people are always asking for your advice on iron vs tiles – make sure you provide this info on your site. Oh, and keep adding content. The more you have and the more recent it is, the more Google will index your site.
3. Include an Obvious Call to Action
Decide what you want people to do and make it obvious and easy for them to do so. If you want them to call you – make your number big and repeat it throughout the site. On the responsive (mobile) version of your site, have a clickable link which opens their phone dialling keypad. Don’t just bury your phone number on the contact page.
If your objective is to build a prospect list and continue marketing your service over the long haul – offer a voucher or gift for giving their email address. The optin form needs to be “above the fold” and the number of the fields on the form kept to the absolute minimum.
4. Have Your Site Professionally Designed
Don’t be tempted to save money and use your neighbour’s teenage son to design your site. He may know what to do technically, but chances are he has not been trained in the proven design and marketing principles around layout, contrast, colours, typography, etc. Think of your website as real estate – every part of it is valuable and there’s “rules” which make each part work well, and “rules” around things you should never do. – like position a search field on the left or use the word Submit on a Form button.
To induce people to stop and read, every page needs to be broken up with headlines, sub headlines, images and bullet points. Great long paragraphs will not be read.
5. Ensure Your Site Is Functional
In the construction industry – form follows function. Online, it’s the same - . Your site must be attractive and grab attention, but if people can’t see the site quickly (within 6 seconds) then all the “form” is lost because they’ve gone. It must load quickly, it must be easy to navigate, it must display correctly on any browser – AND, with mobile internet usage set to surpass desktop computer usage in 2014 – your site MUST have built in responsiveness (automatically adapts the display to each tablet and each mobile phone size).
Don’t be lazy and try to make an old Wordpress website go responsive with a plugin – it’s not a workable option. You need a Wordpress theme that is already responsive.
What to Do Now
If you currently have a website – take a fresh look at it and ask yourself or your staff (or even a customer) these questions and take immediate action if the answers are not good.
- Is the content written in a way that attracts attention, addresses customers’ needs, builds trust and inspires action?
- Does the design follow proven layout guidelines so it’s easy on the eye and leads people where you want them to go
- Does it function properly? Does it display quickly and properly in all browsers and on all mobile devices?
If you don’t have a website – get one. And whatever you do – use a marketing company that does web design. You want results, not a digital brochure.